Even though speed may not be the root cause of a collision, the speed at which a collision occurs is almost always the most important factor in determining whether persons involved are injured or killed.
The speed at which you are travelling usually determines whether or not there is time to avoid a crash. The human body has a limited tolerance to violent forces. If a crash occurs, your chance of injury increases with speed.
In Alberta, about six to seven per cent of collisions each year are attributed to unsafe speed. This number jumps to 27 per cent when looking at fatal collision statistics. (Source: Alberta Transportation, September 2013).
1. Don’t speed through intersections Permanent link to Don’t speed through intersections
Speed is particularly a concern at intersections. Resist the urge to speed up to make it through a yellow light (a practice 60 per cent of residents in Strathcona County believe is acceptable according to the 2013 Traffic Safety Survey). Should a collision occur, that extra 5-10 km/h could literally be the difference between life and death.
2. Minimizing crash severity Permanent link to Minimizing crash severity
Research has identified collision speeds that will generally keep crash severity within the limits that can be withstood by the human body before death or serious injury will occur. These numbers assume a well-built vehicle with all occupants wearing their seat belts.
- Side impact crashes (T-bone) - serious injury or death will generally occur at speeds greater than 50 km/h
- Front impact crashes (head-on) - serious injury or death will generally occur at speeds greater than 70 km/h
3. Pedestrians and cyclists Permanent link to Pedestrians and cyclists
For pedestrians and cyclists, speed is even more lethal.
“Why did I get a ticket?! What is the big deal about going 10 km/h over the limit?”
The dangers of high level speeding (driving over 30 km/h above the posted limit) are pretty obvious.
However, low level speeding (driving under 15 km/h over the limit) contributes to far more to collisions than high-level speeding. Studies have found nearly 60% of fatal and injury crash risk could be eliminated by eliminating speeding up to 15 km/h over the limit. (Reference source)
The sheer number of low-level speeders contributes to a large proportion of the risk associated with speeding. By comparison, only a small proportion of the fatal and injury crash risk is due to drivers travelling at 31 km/h or more over the speed limit, because they represent so few drivers.
The culture of low-level speeding is very pervasive in Strathcona County. In a 2013 Traffic Safety Survey, over 40% indicated that it was safe to drive 5 or 10 km/h over the posted speed limit.
What are the Provincial legislated speeds?
Unless otherwise posted, provincial legislated speeds are:
- Provincial highways: 100 km/h
- Municipal highways: 80 km/h
- Highways in urban areas: 50 km/h
Speeds limits are legislated under the Traffic Safety Act, Section 106 and the Use of Highway and Rules of the Road Regulation, Sections 2 and 3.
Sherwood Park Freeway Speed Limit
The Sherwood Park Freeway, west of Ordze Crescent, is a provincially owned and controlled roadway, and follows provincial speed limits. Because of the short distance under the overpass, the Province has chosen to maintain the 70 km/h speed limit for a short section of the freeway. Should you have any questions, please contact Alberta Transportation, North Central Region, at 780-674-4700. For concerns about existing or missing signs, or road maintenance, please contact Volker Stevin (maintenance contractor) at 780-877-6897.
1. How are speed zones established? Permanent link to How are speed zones established?
Changes to speeds are usually a result of an engineering study to determine the 85th percentile speed, the speed at which 85 percent of the vehicles are traveling at or below, then rounding to the nearest 10. At this speed, collisions will be minimized.
This speed, together with the legislated speed, type of road, traffic volumes, pedestrian volumes, collision history and the road network are then all considered to determine a recommended speed for the road section under consideration. This recommended speed is then proposed to Council who may reject, approve or set a different speed under a Bylaw.
Strathcona County reviews speeds on roads throughout the County on an ongoing basis.
In September 2011, Strathcona County Council voted to abolish mobile photo radar enforcement and approved hiring five additional enforcement officers (Strathcona County Community Peace Officers) to not only conduct speed enforcement, but also target other driving behaviours that place motorists at risk. These enforcement officers will serve to complement the existing integrated traffic unit (RCMP & Enforcement Services) and will be visible in the community as of September 1.
Intersection control devices, including red light cameras and speed detection cameras will continue to be used at seven intersections in Sherwood Park, including three on Baseline Road and four on Wye Road.
Motorists should be aware that demerit points will be assessed on their drivers licence for moving traffic violations. Each individual issued an Alberta Driver's Licence (regular Class 5) may receive a maximum of 15 demerit points before their driving privileges are revoked. The demerits are applied to the driver's licence upon conviction of moving traffic violations. Where it relates to speeding, the following applies:
- 1 - 15 km/h over the posted speed limit - 2 demerit points
- 16 - 30 km/h over the posted speed limit - 3 demerit points
- 31 - 50 km/h over the posted speed limit - 4 demerit points
- Any speed in excess of 51 km/h over the posted limit - 6 demerit points
- Please note, it is expected to take at least eight months to process issued photo radar tickets through the court system.
Transportation Planning and Engineering
RCMP and Enforcement Services